The Crash Years

Cope EP

Written by: TL on 09/02/2014 10:46:37

The Crash Years are a quartet from Clarkesville, Georgia who got together in October 2011 when singer/pianist Joel Cox welcomed guitarist Tyler Brantley, bassist Ethan Watkins and drummer Drake Kent aboard, turning his former solo effort into a band. A debut EP called "Genuine" was released in 2012, followed by a full length called "Disposition" in 2013, yet I had not heard about the band until recently, and thus I only join them on newest EP "Cope", which came out earlier this week.

With Cox playing the keys as the band's main man, The Crash Years are in the minority of piano driven rock bands, where Brantley's tasteful, often post-rock-ish guitar touches comfortably remain in a supporting role. The songwriting is a conventional, heart on sleeve style, and to make a long story short, "Cope" should appeal to anyone who ever listened to Something Corporate's classic "Konstantine" wishing desperately that they knew more songs like it. It's sappy yet effectful, conjuring up an affection similarly to The Narrative, The Rocket Summer or Dashboard Confessional, although perhaps a hair's breadth more subtle in its sentimentality.

What's more important is that it makes for some good, old-fashioned, great songs, which should be apparent whether the style appeals to you or feels a bit too corny. The intro track confines itself to just letting its piano movement set the atmosphere without dramatic developments, but already in the following "Relentless" Cox sings a pair of peak notes atop an agitated piano/guitar interplay in the pre-chorus which grabs at your attention already on first listen, and the tremolo that seques the chorus into the next verse is a nice touch as well. Following it, "The One" is a more typically American, radio-friendly ballad but it's no less effective with its easily recognisable chorus which again bids you sing along already on first listen and which really drives home the Rocket Summer comparison. On the later half of the six track EP, it's mainly "Always Wrong" that follows you home after the show is over, and again it's the pre-chorus you'll find sticking to your mind inexplicably when you wake up in the morning, pretty much single-handedly dragging you back to the song with the way the guitar comes in and lends power to the surging vocal urgency, especially in the second installment.

To be fair, the intended grandeur of the almost seven minute title track that closes the EP doesn't feel fully realised, and The Crash Years' greatness is a bit momentary on the release, meaning that they need to build more convincingly around their best ideas to be likely to step up to a bigger level. It's that difference that still sets apart a thoroughly excellent release like The Rocket Summer's "Life Will Write The Words" for instance, but that said, The Crash Years clearly demonstrate an encouraging aptitude in the often narrow field of piano-driven rock bands, showing that some times a traditional approach like theirs is worth rekindling because it's still good for some moments that can engage you more directly than some of the more progressive, stylistic experiments out there.

Download: Relentless, The One, Always Wrong
For The Fans Of: Andrew McMahon, The Rocket Summer, The Narrative, Dashboard Confessional

Release Date 04.02.2014
Autumn + Colour

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